West Allis teen who died in house fire laid to rest Monday

CREATED Mar 25, 2013

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WEST ALLIS - It has been an emotional day for a family who suffered a terrible loss. A 14-year-old boy who died in a house fire was laid to rest Monday.

Michael Gonzales’s family laid the teen to rest more than a week after he and a friend died in house fire. But their final goodbye was a way to look back at what was taken away.

“No parent wants to grieve their child this way,” said Carmen Gonzales, Michael’s cousin.

Sunday morning, March 17, a fire broke out in the middle of the night in a house near 57th and Lapham in West Allis. Four children were trapped inside, but only two escaped. Gonzales and his friend Isaiha Kobow were unable to get out alive.

“We want to remember that smile he always had and we love that smile of his, and we cherish that,” Carmen Gonzales said.

Carmen said Michael had a dream of becoming a professional football player.

“He had the talent and we were preparing him to fulfill his dreams,” she added.

The family comforted each other as they prepared to say its final goodbye. But the processional allowed Michael to make one last trip.

One of the places for the processional was at Hamilton High. The cars came by because it is where Michael was slated to play football, but the same day he found out he got accepted he lost his life.

“This past Monday was his first day to get into the weight room for training,” said Michael’s cousin.

The acceptance to the team was more than just practice; Michael was going to be coached by his own uncle. His cousin says they talked hours before the fire.

“He was excited, it was his first nephew he was going to coach and so that was special,” Carmen said.

Fire investigators say an electrical problem started the fire. As this family starts a new chapter without their loved one the community has filled the void.

“We're fortunate because we had so many people that were willing to help us and guide us along the way and hold our hands,” Carmen said.

Community members helped to board up and try to clean up the house destroyed by the fire.